To contact Gika Rector, call 713.213.7643 or send e-mail.

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The Coaching Experience: A Journey from Pain to Change

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I never dreamed that coaching would change my life so dramatically. I was a skeptic who needed help making a decision, although I wasn’t aware of this need at the time.

I started seeing Gika about four years ago. I had been living in Oregon finishing up my master’s degree and planning to live there for the rest of my life when I hurt my back pretty badly. So badly that I found it difficult to walk because of the constant pain that shot through my lower left side, through my hip and down my leg. The fact that I lived rurally with just the basic amenities and that it was winter in the Pacific Northwest did not help the situation. I was cold and sore. I was a wreck physically, unable to grow food, which was my job at the time, or even to put on my own socks.

But I was also a wreck emotionally. I found myself crying more often than not. Scared that I would not be able to come out of this downspout, I decided to use the little money I had to travel back to Texas and spend an extended Christmas with my family. I resolved to get some sun and some more chiropractic attention and then return to Oregon at the end of January.

There was just one problem. I still felt stressed out and confused about my life and my plan. I didn’t know what to do; I should have wanted to go to Oregon. After all, I had friends there, and it’s beautiful. “People there have values that align with my own,” I told myself. Regardless of these reasons, I could not feel good about going back to Oregon, and I couldn’t say no to it either.

Then I got a phone call one day from a good friend who happens to be Gika’s daughter. She said that her mom, whom I only knew casually, was starting up a new coaching business, and she might be able to help me. I should try it. What could I lose? At the end of that first session, I decided to stay in Texas. I was jobless, penniless, and still in physical pain, but I felt total peace about my decision.

My experience in that coaching session—and every session I’ve had with Gika—is that she gets curious about me and about what’s going on with me. Out of that curiosity comes question after question. Through answering these questions, I am able to clarify my goals, my hopes and dreams, and my desires. For me, coaching is more relevant than counseling because we talk about the here and now. We might hit on a situation from the past, but we don’t dwell on it or over-analyze it. The old stuff is a stepping stone, a back-story, to what is happening right now in my life. Gika also gives me relevant and fun activities to do that help me continue my process when I’m not seeing her, like collage and journaling.

In the years since I moved back to Texas, I have clarified what I want and don’t want. I have regained my strength in every way. I have experienced forgiveness of myself and of the people closest to me. I have accepted my dark side and embraced my light. I have truly accepted help and relied on another human being for the first time in my life. And all of this has rippled out into every corner of my life. Gandhi said, “Change yourself, change the world,” and I have experienced this change through my coaching relationship with Gika. I am so grateful.

Gika says: Coaching Cynthia was sprinkled with surprise and delight. She arrived willing to work hard, to look directly at what she wanted to change, and ready to move forward. She’s an awesome example of how much this kind of work can change your life. Who knew it could be so much fun! Thanks, Cynthia.


Cynthia is a native Texan who has lived and traveled all over the U.S. She loves being in nature, and this love has led her to complete her master’s degree in environmental education. Cynthia currently works with a small conservancy.

That Attention Thing

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Campari poster, circa 1960

Attention changes the way we see the world around us.

A few weeks ago, an odd series of experiences reminded me of the power of attention to change the way we see the world around us.

I was meeting with a client to prepare materials for a special event—a vendor exposition. We were designing a poster to display the names of the vendors, and working from two different source lists, we discovered a discrepancy: a moving company called Max Movers was on one list but not the other. We placed the name on the poster, but asked the event coordinator to follow up about whether Max Movers belonged on the list.

Three days later, as I left another client’s office, I drove past a truck bearing the now-familiar Max Movers logo. I had no memory of ever seeing a Max Movers truck before in my life. I thought about this strange phenomenon, the by-product of focused attention. I suspected that I’d encountered their trucks dozens of times, but that I’d never seen one.

Over lunch that afternoon, I told my cousin about that experience and “the attention thing.” In the course of the same meal, we moved on to the topic of some projects that my company had worked on several years ago—programs for National American Miss pageants. The work was chaotic, disorganized, and difficult. With a bit of gallows humor, my staff referred to the summer of National American Miss programs as “our time in NAM.”

After lunch, my cousin and I went to an art museum. We’d only been wandering the galleries for a short while when we walked into a room where a huge canvas depicted two life-size people carrying a banner bearing the word NAM. My cousin pointed at the painting. “NAM! If we hadn’t talked about ‘NAM’ at lunch, I wouldn’t have even noticed this. It’s that attention thing again.”

The next day, my cousin and I stopped at a liquor store to pick up a few things for a party. I picked up a bottle of Campari, a bitter Italian apéritif. “I’ve always wanted to try this,” I said. “Have you ever had it?” She hadn’t. We bought the bottle.

On our way home, we stopped at an icehouse to meet some friends for drinks. After a while, my cousin paid a visit to the ladies’ room. When she came back, she had a grin on her face. I asked her what was funny.

She said, “There was a poster on the wall of the restroom…advertising Campari!”

That attention thing again.

Gika says: You get what you focus on. Ed’s guest post covers the idea nicely. The only thing I’d add is to notice what you notice. Where is your attention, and what is it getting you? What might happen if you shifted your focus?


Edward F. Gumnick is a writer, graphic design, and communications consultant based in Houston, Texas. You can find links to his work at EFGumnick.com.